How to prepare your cat for your vacation time

GA_Surf n' Sand Cat bannerAs cool as it would be to bring your kitty on vacation, sometimes it just can’t happen. So to keep everyone’s sanity intact, plan ahead and leave her in the best care possible.

You’ve been waiting all year for this season: Summertime! Long days, beach attire and a well – deserved vacation J All good and fabulous but, have you planned for your kitty too? ‘Cause unless she’s going with, your planning is not quite done.

That whole thing of “cats can take care of themselves” is a farce. We certainly act like we don’t give a damn if you’re here or not while at the same time give you the “how dare you leave me” look, but that’s only ‘cause we work hard on our craft and we love to cause you extra grief. We are the best actors in the animal kingdom. Need proof? Start by just mentioning the word suitcase. You know the look you’ll get. Check out my buddy Billy here:

I see that suitcase... all cool... LEAVING WITHOUT ME? HOW DARE YOU! Pics by Yencie Ayala

I see that suitcase… all cool… LEAVING WITHOUT ME? HOW DARE YOU! Pics by Yencie Ayala

Not good at all! But the ugly truth is that the feline can’t always accompany you on your trips. A few reasons could be:

  • Health issues
  • Age
  • Kitty not quite so social
  • Trip is really a business one

Whatever the case you need to find someone to take care of kitty while you’re away. And finding the perfect individual is not as easy as you think.

The best solution (and probably the cheapest) is asking a friend to come by and check on her. Bonus points if the friend already knows the cat and gets along with her. If that isn’t the case, invite him/her over a few times so both can get used to one another.

If none of your friends are cat people, you then have to:

  1. obviously get new friends
  2. hire a pet-sitter

This process can take a bit of time so don’t leave it ‘til last minute. There are many online sites to check, also the vet office and your local shelter keep names of people they trust. You want to find someone with good references (that will be checked), experience and most importantly, is liked by your CAT.

Just like that friend who doesn’t know your cat, the pet sitter candidates should visit a couple of times so they can interact with kitty. You know your cat better than anyone, you will know when the right person comes along.

Once the person is hired, he or she has to learn the cat’s routine. Granted, they won’t spend all day with her (unless they’re also housesitting) but the idea is to try to keep her routine as normal as possible: same food, don’t move the litterbox, favorite toys, instructions for medications, etc.

We act all tough... to hide the tears!

We act all tough… to hide the tears!

You want everything to go smoothly, but life is unpredictable, which means keep important information easy to find:

  • Vet office numbers and address
  • Pet Emergency Kit
  • Cat has to be up to date on her shots and be microchipped
  • In case of emergency person to contact

She will miss you no matter what. To help with the loneliness, leave a few shirts around her favorite napping spots. Your smell will help her calm down.

Enjoy your trip and please, bring her something cool!

Newsletter CTA New. Gato CommentsEN ESPAÑOL
Cómo preparar a tu gato para tus vacaciones

Llevarte a tu gato de vacaciones suena fantástico pero no siempre es posible. Para que todos disfrutemos de la experiencia, necesitas planificar con tiempo y conseguirle el mejor cuidado posible.

Llevas contando los días hasta llegar a este momento: ¡Temporada de verano! El sol sale por más tiempo, andar en traje de baño es aceptado y te vas de vacaciones J Todo suena fabuloso, pero ¿has planeado para tu gato? Porque a menos que vaya contigo, la lista no está terminada.

Eso de que “el gato se cuida solo” es mentira. Oh sí, actuamos como si nos da igual si estás o no mientras te damos el look de “cómo te atreves a dejarme”, pero es sólo porque nos gusta angustiarte. Somos los mejores actores del reino animal. ¿Necesitas más evidencia? Solamente menciona la palabra maleta. Ya verás cómo te mira el gato.

¡Nada cool! Pero tristemente no siempre te puede acompañar en tus aventuras. Algunas razones son:

  • Problemas de salud
  • Edad
  • Gato no es muy sociable
  • El viaje es más de negocio

Cualquiera que sea el caso, necesitas encontrar a alguien que lo cuide mientras estás fuera. Y dar en el clavo con la persona ideal no es tan sencillo.

La mejor solución (y la más barata) es pedirle el favor a un amigo de confianza. Ganas extra si el amigo ya conoce al minino y son panas. Si ese no es el caso, invítalo a casa varias veces para que se conozcan mejor.

Si ninguno de tus amigos quieren ayudar entonces tienes que:

  1. obviamente conocer nuevas amistades
  2. contratar a una niñera de mascotas

Este proceso toma tiempo así que no lo dejes para lo último. Hay muchos lugares online que puedes chequear, también preguntar en la oficina del veterinario y en tu refugio local. Necesitas a alguien con buenas referencias (que vas a verificar), experiencia y lo más importante, que TU GATO se lleve con ella.

Igual que con los amigos que no conocen al gato, las (los) candidatas a niñera deben visitar par de veces para que interactúen con el minino. Nadie conoce a tu gato mejor que tú, te darás cuenta cuando la persona perfecta hace su aparición.

Una vez contratada, tiene que aprender la rutina del gato. No que vaya a estar todo el día con él (a menos que también cuide la casa), pero la idea es mantener la rutina del minino lo más normal posible. Así que tiene que aprender a qué horas come, dónde está el arenero (y limpiarlo diariamente), cuáles son sus juguetes y juegos favoritos, y muy importante, instrucciones sobre medicamentos si está tomando alguno.

Quieres que todo salga bien, pero la vida es impredecible, para evitar tragedias debes colocar información importante en un lugar accesible:

  • Teléfono y dirección del veterinario
  • Equipo de emergencias del gato
  • El minino debe tener sus vacunas al día y estar identificado con microchip
  • Persona de contacto en caso de emergencia

Tu gatito te va a extrañar comoquiera. Para ayudarlo con la soledad, deja algunas camisas sin lavar donde se acuesta a dormir siesta. Tu olorcito lo ayudará a calmarse.

Disfruta de tu viaje y ¡tráele algo cool!

It’s too hot. Time to shed some hair!

GA_Excellent Summer picI still can’t understand the problem. Humans seem to go to extremes when the weather gets warmer in order to get “beach ready” but when cats naturally shed some hair to find relief then it’s all: “Enough with the hairy tumbleweeds! I just vacuumed!”

Well, I am here to tell you that living with a feline means dealing with hair. Our relationship with it is very volatile. During the fall and winter months we loooove it, allowing it to grow and stay put so we can feel all warm and fuzzy. But as soon as it starts to heat up, out with it! A lighter coat is required to enjoy the breeze blowing thru our bodies while we nap in the sun. You change wardrobe and so do we.

These pants are begging for some cat hair...

These pants are begging for some cat hair…

Is there a way to coexist harmoniously? Of course! 2 words: cleaning and grooming. The first one means using that vacuum cleaner a few times a week to keep the dusty hair off your carpet (not a feline favorite). The second one involves a pampering spa routine where you brush your kitty daily so the unwanted particles never reach the ground (definitely a better choice). You can also try to give the cat a bath… but be aware that beach style does not include scratched arms. You’ve been warned.

Extreme Shedding: This happens when the cat sheds so much hair that skin patches become exposed. Or kitty keeps licking one area with such intensity that loses all hair on it. None of these are normal behaviors; they are signs that your feline needs medical attention. Continue reading

Nap on the rocks

GA_Nap on the rocksA little fish. Sunny siesta. Repeat.
Wanna be part of this most excellent summer? Sign up!
Un poco de pescado. Siesta bajo el sol. Repite.
¿Quieres ser parte de esta aventura veraniega? ¡Conéctate aquí!

Don’t believe the hype: your cat is happy indoors

GA_Excellent Summer picSure we look oh so cool hanging out outside, climbing trees and jumping from rooftops with enviable confidence but know this: that outdoor loving feline runs a lot of risks and has a very short life span. And while some of them prefer it that way, trust me when I say that most of them would love to live in a pampered environment where they can stretch those 9 lives in style – provided of course that it comes equipped with all the necessary gadgets.

This means thinking cat and bringing our outdoor experiences inside. Every cat is different and so are his fun activities. Knowing what your feline likes will make the transition way easier.

The King of the House: Does he like to jump up the kitchen cabinets and watch you cook? He will enjoy having a few boards installed around the house so he can keep an eye on his kingdom from above. This idea also applies to what you call “Cat TV”: a window perch where kitty can sit and watch the outdoor world go by.

Obsessed about her nails: Kitty won’t stop scratching your furniture? Don’t deny her the action. It is an essential part of every cat’s routine. When we scratch a surface we are leaving our scent on it making the area our own. Territorial acquiring is very important to us. Start by adding scratching pads and towers strategically placed in those areas that she prefers to use.

The Hunter: Always on the prowl. No boundaries in his hunting grounds: grabbing your feet when you walk past him, going for your favorite vintage lamp, killing that wind chime you’ve had for 20 years… it all becomes his. To prevent you from losing more valuable items (and saving your feet), you need to provide the hunter with prey. NOT talking about live mice or bugs – although if they’re inside it’s fair game- but by getting toys designed for the action. Hide them around the home to make it more fun.

Oh yes, he is suffering. Indoor life with outdoor views. Pic: Glorimar Anibarro

Oh yes, he is suffering. Indoor life with outdoor views. Pic: Glorimar Anibarro

Wanna go outside: You’ve done your research. Got kitty the perfect toys. Redesigned your home to make it appealing for him. Yet his favorite place is still hanging by the door waiting to bolt out the minute it opens. It’s not your fault. He just wants to feel the grass under his paws. The solution depends on finding out the exact reason for the problem: Continue reading

Stay hydrated my friends. Water will keep you alive.

GA_Excellent Summer pic

We start our Excellent Summer Series with a very important lesson: Hydration. Our relationship with water is a funky one. While it is totally true that the act of bathing using H2O along with some smelly shampoo can bring out the tiger hidden way inside, when we talk about drinking the liquid the reaction is the complete opposite: we can’t get enough. And that is a good thing. Because we can survive a couple of days without food, but without water it is only a matter of hours (ominous music in the background).

We need as much water as the amount of food we eat. Some felines make the most of their water consumption: drinking from the faucet, testing every glass of water left around the house, even checking the one from that round litter box you guys use so much… anything for a drink. Still, how do you know we are drinking our fill? The answer is in our body language.

Dr. Avocado logoSigns of a dehydrated cat:

  • Kitty is suffering from nausea, vomiting and excessive urination. It is impossible to recuperate the amount of water she is losing.
  • Your spunky cat is now a very lethargic one
  • Loss of appetite: Not even tuna will convince her.
  • The skin test: if you lift the skin from the back of her neck or shoulder blades and the skin doesn’t go back to its natural position.

What to do? TAKE YOUR CAT TO THE VET NOW! Trying to give her water now is not going to help. She has lost a lot of nutrients and needs intravenous fluids STAT!

Now that she is back home, how can you prevent this so it never happens again?

  • Make sure your cat has fresh, clean water available at all times.
  • The water bowl should be clean. Nobody likes to drink from a dirty glass.
  • Your diva won’t drink from a normal bowl: one of those fabulous cat fountains can solve the problem. Only the best for your kitty 😉
  • Sharing is caring: Open the faucet and allow her to drink a little before washing dishes or your face.
  • Diet plays a big part: the amount of water on dry food is only 7%, compared to canned food that goes up to 80%. If changing the kind of food is not an option, you have to step up and add more water to the routine. Try adding tuna or chicken juice to the dry food… and suddenly I am hungry…
Picky cats like fresh flowing water. Pic: Ev Carlin

Picky cats like fresh flowing water. Pic: Ev Carlin

CTA English 2EN ESPAÑOL
Toma agua mi amigo. Te va a mantener vivo.
Nuestra relación con el agua es complicada. Es cierto que cuando se combina con un champú oloroso despierta al tigre que vive dentro de nosotros; pero cuando la usamos para beber la reacción es totalmente la opuesta: no podemos alejarnos de ella. Y es la reacción correcta porque podemos sobrevivir par de días sin comida; pero sin agua el final puede llegar en cuestión de horas (música dramática en el fondo).

Necesitamos consumir la misma cantidad de agua que de comida. Algunos mininos van más allá para disfrutar su agüita fresca: tomando del grifo, probando cada vaso con agua dejado en la casa, hasta chequeando ese arenero redondo que tanto usan ustedes… todo por un trago de agua. Pero la pregunta sigue en pie, ¿cómo sabemos si están tomando suficiente? La respuesta te la da nuestro lenguaje felino.

Señales de un gato deshidratado:

  • La gatita está sufriendo de náuseas, vómitos y orinando en exceso. Es imposible que recupere la cantidad de líquido que ha perdido.
  • Tu gato atrevido es ahora uno demasiado pacífico.
  • Pérdida de apetito: Ni siquiera el atún la convence.
  • Falta de elasticidad en la piel: si levantas la piel entre sus hombros y al soltarla no regresa a su estado natural, está bien deshidratado.

¿Qué hacer? ¡LLEVARLO AL VETERINARIO DE EMERGENCIA! Tratar de darle agua en ese momento no va a ayudar. Ha perdido demasiados nutrientes y necesita tratamiento intravenoso.

CTA Español 2Una vez regresa a casa, ¿cómo prevenir esto para que no vuelva a suceder?

  • El gato debe tener agua limpia disponible en todo momento.
  • El plato de agua debe estar limpio. A nadie le gusta tomar de un vaso sucio.
  • Si tu diva se rehúsa a tomar de un plato normal, considera invertir en una de esas fabulosas fuentes de agua para gatos. Lo mejor para tu gatita 😉
  • Compartir es amar: Abre el grifo un poco para que pueda tomar antes de lavarte la cara o los platos.
  • La dieta tiene mucho que ver: la cantidad de agua en la comida seca es de tan sólo 7%, mientras la mojada tiene un 80%. Si no puedes cambiar la clase de comida, trata de añadir más agua en su rutina. Un truco es mezclar la comida seca con el caldo del atún enlatado o del pollo que cocinas (sin especias por favor)… ¡y de repente se me ha colado un hambre!..

Got a question for Dr. Avocado? Send him an email, add your name to our newsletter list or find me on Twitter or Facebook

¿Tienes una pregunta para el Dr. Avocado? Inscríbete a mi newsletter o escríbeme un email: iamgatoavocado@gmail.com

*ATTENTION: I am not a veterinarian. I am a proud member of the Felis Silvestris Catus family, (translates to “domestic cat” –  an inside joke in the cat community) that kindly shares his knowledge of our species to you. I can’t provide specific treatments for your feline friend. Please refer to your veterinarian. Meow!   /   *ATENCION: No soy veterinario. Soy un orgulloso miembro de la familia Felis Silvestris Catus (que se traduce en “gato domesticado” – chiste interno entre la comunidad gatuna), que con amor comparte su conocimiento de la especie con ustedes. No puedo proveer detalles específicos para tratar a tu amigo felino. Por favor, llévalo al veterinario. ¡Miau!

Happy Monday

GA_Stop whining
Stop whining and look around you. There is a lot of good here.
Para de quejarte y mira a tu alrededor. Todavía quedan cosas.

Be One with the Music

GA_feeling the music
This is what is all about… Rock on!
Esto es lo que vale… ¡Disfruta!